Metra released its proposed $827.4 million operating budget for 2020 with millions in capital investments that will not require a fare increase for riders.
The budget outlines $480.5 million in proposed capital spending, including major investments in locomotives and rail cars, stations, bridges and yards, according to a news release.
The capital budget was “significantly bolstered” by the new state capital program, according to Metra. Over the next five years, Metra is expecting to see almost $1.45 billion.
Along with $961.8 million in expected federal funding, $146 million from the Regional Transportation Authority, $26 million in fare revenue and $4 million from other sources, Metra will have almost $2.6 billion, an unprecedented amount, to invest in its system over the next five years.
In 2020, Metra expects $205.2 million in state bond funds and $73.7 million in what’s called “pay-as-you-go” or “Paygo” funding, which is an annual allotment of funding tied to the state gas tax that will grow with inflation.
About two-thirds of 2020 capital funds will go toward five major areas: new rail cars and locomotives, locomotive and car rehabilitation, stations and parking, yard rehabilitation and bridges.
In terms of Metra’s operating budget, it identified almost $6 million in efficiency savings and expects to save about $7 million by not filling vacancies and about $5 million by reducing overtime and other miscellaneous expenses. Metra expects the savings to offset an expected $23 million increase in operating costs.
Metra’s 2020 proposed budget will be subject to eight public hearings throughout the Chicago area. Customers and members of the public are encouraged to attend and provide comments on the proposed budget.
A meeting will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 4 on the second floor of the Will County Office Building.
Those interested also can email comments on the proposed budget to email@example.com or mail to the assistant secretary to the Metra board in room 1300, 547 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60661. Comments must be received no later than 24 hours after the last public hearing on Nov. 5.
A copy of the full budget document can be found on Metra’s website.